Greek Olympic officials are spending thousands of pounds on an exclusive private members' club in London, according to a report in the daily Independent on Tuesday. Just a few months after Greece received a second international bailout worth 130 billion euros, it is using tens of thousands of euros to cover some of the cost of hiring the entire Carlton Club in St James’s, the British daily reported.
The Carlton, known as the “oldest, most elite, and most important of all Conservative clubs” in Britain, usually closes in summer but is being hired for 150,000 pounds (192,000 euros) to become the House of Hellenes, the paper said, noting that about half the cost is bein contributed by private firms and the other half by Greek lottery cash.
The aim of the event, which is being run by the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, is for sponsors, politicians and officials to mingle with athletes. The chamber said it hoped to attract foreign investment “to entertain guests and promote the reconstruction of the Greek economy."
The Greek Embassy in London was quoted as saying that the reason the Carlton Club was booked was that it was the only venue available at such short notice following the election of the new government last month. Apparently, the first choice would have been the more modestly priced Hellenic Centre in Marylebone, available from 1,800 pounds (2,300 euros) a day.